Reds fall to the Red Sox despite a stellar start from Hunter Greene

Jun 1, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Hunter Greene (21) throws a pitch against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning at Fenway Park.

BOSTON –– Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Hunter Greene showed on Thursday why he’s confident that he can become one of the best pitchers in baseball. He looked like a pitcher who, after receiving an incredible amount of fanfare when he was in high school, is living up to the hype.

Last weekend, Greene pitched six no-hit innings. At Fenway Park on Thursday against the Boston Red Rox, Greene looked even better. As Greene allowed one run that should have counted as unearned in six innings, Greene made one of his most impressive starts in a Reds uniform.

Then, a bullpen that has been a strength for the Reds this season had one of its worst games of the year. The Red Sox beat the Reds, 8-2, preventing the Reds from completing the series sweep.

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Reds reliever Kevin Herget, pitching in the first high-leverage situation of his career, allowed the go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning to Red Sox star third baseman Rafael Devers. Herget allowed six runs in the eighth inning as the Red Sox pulled away.

Cincinnati Reds' Hunter Greene delivers a pitch to a Boston Red Sox batter during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, June 1, 2023, in Boston.

The score was tied at one when Greene left the game at the top of the seventh inning. The Red Sox took the lead for good with Devers’ RBI in the eighth inning off of Herget. Then, Herget committed a balk that plated an add-on run, allowed an RBI single to Red Sox second baseman Kiké Hernández and surrendered a home run to catcher Connor Wong.

Herget has bounced between the rotation, the bullpen and Triple-A this year. The toughest part of a winning streak like the Reds had been on is that it creates more high-leverage situations for the bullpen. The Reds needed Herget because of how much pitchers like Buck Farmer, Lucas Sims and Alex Young have pitched recently.

The Red Sox have a left-handed heavy lineup, and Young is the only left-hander in the Reds’ bullpen. That skewed the math even more in the Red Sox favor as Devers has a career .895 OPS against right-handed pitchers compared to a .747 OPS against left-handers.

Takeaways from Reds vs. Red Sox

1. Barrero has shown a good first step and impressive range in center field, but he had a shaky game against the Red Sox. In addition to his dropped fly ball, Barrero nearly collided with shortstop Matt McLain on a shallow pop fly. Barrero will have to play more center field with McLain in MLB and prospect Elly De La Cruz nearing a promotion, and Barrero is still adjusting to his new position.

Jun 1, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Cincinnati Reds catcher Curt Casali (12) hits a double against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning at Fenway Park.

2. The Reds wasted a great scoring opportunity in the top of the fourth inning. After Steer opened the frame with a double, Reds designated hitter Tyler Stephenson crushed a line drive off the center field wall. But since Red Sox center fielder Jarren Duran looked like he had a shot to catch it, Steer didn’t get much of a secondary lead and only advanced to third base. Then when right fielder Stuart Fairchild hit a shallow fly ball to right field, Steer made the aggressive decision to try to score but was thrown out at the plate. Even though the Reds doubled twice, they didn’t score a run in the inning.

3. Reds shortstop Matt McLain extended his hitting streak to 10 games and delivered a game-tying RBI single in the top of the eighth inning. With a runner on third base, McLain didn’t try to do too much and hit a ground ball up the middle. McLain continues to look like a veteran in these high-pressure moments and is living up to his reputation as a “winner.”

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Reds fall to the Red Sox despite a stellar start from Hunter Greene